Chrysalis MAT

What Our Staff Say

Nargis Ghani, Sudbury Primary School, Year 2 Teacher

Ms Ghani has been a teacher at Sudbury Primary School for 6 years and was attracted to a career in teaching after witnessing its transformative power and profound impact that teachers can have on pupils’ lives, helping shape their knowledge, skills, and character when she herself attended the school as a child.

She credits the excellent teamwork environment in which teachers work collaboratively to provide opportunities to engage within the school community as one of the reasons Sudbury is so unique.  Through the school’s college system, children and staff come together as one big family to organise various events that simultaneously motivates everyone. In addition, Ms Ghani believes that pupils enjoy their learning and develop skills that they need to achieve success in transitioning to the different academic years whilst instilling the five values of Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, Kindness, and Courage that are upheld from the beginning of Nursery to the end of Year 6. Providing children with interactive and entertaining methods of teaching that motivate them to engage fully in their learning has also been a great inspiration.

Ms Ghani has this to say about her time at the school:

Sudbury understands that every child is an individual with unique strengths, abilities, and challenges. I have developed a breadth of learning, starting from a Teaching Assistant to a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant, an unqualified teacher to now a qualified teacher. This has allowed for me to develop my skills and understanding of how children learn best considering their range of learning abilities. It has given me the opportunity to instil the love of learning and build relationships that children remember after moving on from Sudbury. I hope to progress onto different roles within the school and continue to be part of a team committed to empowering pupils and continue fostering a love for learning.

Bethan Cairns, French and German Teacher

Whilst working as a teaching assistant before her commencing her undergraduate degree, Bethan realised that her innate desire to help others, combined with her love of foreign languages, would be perfectly suited to teaching. Fast forward to her first PGCE placement at Claremont High School, Bethan knew this was the school to develop her career, stating “Claremont really cares about its students and aims to give the best tools at their disposition to all their staff so that they can make the biggest impact as possible. I have great relationships with my colleagues, and without the fantastic working environment, I would not be so keen to get up early every morning!”

Bethan is thriving at Claremont High School, benefitting from a wide range of resources and opportunities to develop her teaching craft as well as the necessary support to ensure she can overcome every task and challenge thrown her way. She also praises the emphasis that both the school and Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust put on staff wellbeing, commenting “you really feel like you are taken care of as a member of staff at Chrysalis MAT.” As an Early Careers Teacher, Bethan has huge ambitions. She is keen to give more of her time and expertise to either become a part of the pastoral team, or to explore leadership roles within her department.

From extracurricular activities to personalised mentoring opportunities, there are a plethora of opportunities on offer for our students here at Claremont High School. Coming to school is no longer just about getting good grades, it has become a place where our students can learn crucial skills and qualities that they will need to lead successful lives.

Nimra Shaikh, Sudbury Primary School, Teaching Assistant

Ms Shaikh is a teaching assistant within the school’s specialist provision called the Rainbow Room, designed to help pupils with complex needs. We tailor the curriculum to suit the needs of individual children by offering them sensory circuits, Speech and Language interventions as well as the Attention Autism programme. She helps children in the Rainbow Room engage in various sensory activities that aid them with their cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development. 

Ms Shaikh thinks that the uniqueness of Sudbury is that as well as being a friendly and welcoming school it’s rich in its diversity. With a school population of over 900 pupils who come from different countries, backgrounds, and ethnicities, everyone comes together to work as one community to celebrate their differences, with the school values helping to underpin this. She can see that pupils love coming to school as evident from the happy faces every morning. The school is a welcoming, friendly, and inclusive place where children feel a sense of belonging and know that they are valued. The school follows a child-centred approach in everything they do and the entire school community works together as a team to achieve this. Her belief is that children at Sudbury are provided with meaningful opportunities to share their opinions, views, and experiences and enjoy a wide curriculum that gives them opportunities to shine.

Ms Shaikh commented:

One of the many reasons I enjoy my work at Sudbury are my colleagues. Everyone is kind, friendly and always willing to help and support each other when needed. This again brings me back to the school values we all share. Being new to the country with no family around, Sudbury has given me a place to belong and friends I will always cherish. My passion is to continue to work with children who have special needs as it has been the most satisfying aspect of my work. The school has provided me with the required training that has helped me understand my role, improve my skills and support my pupils better. I hope to continue to enhance my skills and knowledge to continue to support children with SEND.

Vikesh Wagjiani, Computer Science and ICT Teacher, Health and Safety Lead, and Teaching and Learning Lead

With a strong desire to make a difference, Vikesh has not looked back since changing from a career in Project Management to a career in teaching. He comments: “Teaching offers us an opportunity to have a direct impact on students’ lives, helping them overcome challenges, build self-confidence, and achieve their goals. It allows us to shape the future by nurturing students’ potential and helping them become responsible, informed citizens.” Vikesh also believes that the freedom to design lessons and engage with students in creative and innovative ways, allows teachers to express their unique teaching styles; and this is even more so at Claremont High School.

What Vikesh enjoys most about teaching at Claremont High School is the range of co-curricular activities, STEM workshops, careers fairs etc, that staff organise, truly supporting the growth of every child. In addition, he believes the staff at Claremont are supportive, friendly and willing to go the extra mile for both students and colleagues. “Their expertise and dedication has a profound impact on students’ experiences as well as new teachers” he says.

Vikesh is always looking to develop in his career. As well as being a Computer Science and ICT Teacher and Teaching and Learning Lead, he has recently adopted the role of Health and Safety Lead as well as be appointed as a Staff Governor. Being part of Chrysalis has enabled Vikesh to attain a sense of personal fulfilment as he works towards achieving his full potential. The key benefit is that new opportunities and pathways continue to arise to help develop both personally and professionally.

Shradha Josh, Sudbury Primary School, Reception Teacher

Ms Josh has been working at Sudbury for a year as an Early Career Teacher. Following her graduation, she travelled to Thailand to teach English as a foreign language, where she had the opportunity to work first-hand with children from differing backgrounds. This experience really motivated her to pursue a career in teaching.

She explains that what makes Sudbury special are the values that are deeply rooted in every staff member throughout the school which is reflected in their teaching and that the staff respectfully engage and support one another. Teamwork is embedded in all staff throughout the school.

Ms Josh comments as follows on her career at the school:

Sudbury is very diverse and multicultural, which allows children to express and share their thoughts with their peers and teachers. Children enjoy coming to school because they feel safe with their teachers in the classroom. They have the opportunity to experience a fun and creative approach to learning. All cultures are celebrated which brings a great sense of pride to the children as well a sense of belonging. I enjoy working at Sudbury because there is a very friendly and positive environment created throughout the school for staff and children. Parents work collaboratively with the teachers to support the development and progress that the pupils make at school.  I would like to continue developing my skills in teaching across KS1 and KS2 and learning about the National Curriculum. I would also like to continue my education to understand how children learn effectively. I would like to take on the responsibility of being a Subject Leader as I progress through my career.

Carina Hasbury, Senior Pupil Progress Manager (Year 7 and 8) and English Teacher

For Carina, a career in teaching was exciting, working with a variety of people, experiencing something new every day, and having a real impact on the lives of young people. The great CPD opportunities on offer at Claremont High School, and as part of Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust, has helped craft her practise and support her career progression. Having trained at the school back in 2017 and now working as a pastoral leader, she believes Chrysalis really invest in their teachers, providing unrivalled support and training.

The interactions she has with the students at Claremont High School are her greatest source of joy! She comments: “Our school has a wonderful diverse cohort of students which are a pleasure to teach. Secondly, the staff are a wonderful collection of individuals which make coming to work something to look forward to.”

Being a pastoral leader, Carina believes the support on offer to students and their families is exceptional:

I believe every student has a teacher who they feel they can talk to and that they trust which is why so many of them achieve the incredible grades they do in Year 11 and Year 13. Students are secure in the fact that they will receive a good education and are proud to be a part of Claremont.

Tom Davey, Sudbury Primary School, Year 6 Class Teacher & English Leader

Mr Davey has worked at the school for 12 years. He decided to train as a teacher after working at Sudbury for 4 years as a Teaching Assistant. This experience inspired him to apply to teacher training, as he very much enjoyed supporting children in class.

Mr Davey believes that even though Sudbury is a very large school, it does not feel like it. His views are that communication between adults and pupils is extremely clear and everyone at the school is “on the same page”. He also feels that the care and effort that all adults at the school put into their work, and the excellent behaviour and values demonstrated by the pupils, show the amazing culture that has been embedded throughout the school.

These are Mr Davey’s views of the school:

Pupils enjoy coming to Sudbury because they know that the adults who work alongside them want the very best for them. They are also motivated and inspired by the high expectations throughout the school and by the exciting, creative and clear teaching that is planned and provided by staff. Every single day is different and unpredictable. The conversations I have with the children are endlessly entertaining and seeing the pupils make progress and process new information is inspiring. I am very lucky, as I get to work with pupils from every age range throughout the school. Some of my favourite times are when I carry out Pupil Voice with children who I do not teach, to learn more about their experiences. I hope to stay at Sudbury for a very long time. Where possible, I would like to increase my leadership capacity, so that I am able to have input into issues which will affect increasingly more pupils each year.

Matthew McDavid, Head of Geography

The support and opportunities Matthew was offered when he joined Claremont High School as a newly qualified teacher in 2017 gave him the confidence and freedom to develop his teaching craft in the classroom, on school trips and leading co-curricular activities. Within three years, he became Associate Head of Geography, shadowing his Head of Department to gain further experience, before taking over as Head of Geography in 2022. In addition, Matthew participated in the Outstanding Teacher Programme which really benefited his development as an outstanding teacher.

Over the next five years, Matthew has ambitions to ensure Claremont High School’s Geography Department is the best in the country, with amazing co-curricular and fieldwork opportunities for all year groups. There’s already so much on offer for students, Matthew states: “The Year 10 trip to Norfolk is a real highlight of my teaching year, as I get to see students apply what they have learnt in the classroom to the real world. I also love being able to offer the Model UN Club for Years 9 to 13, a biome backpack design competition for Year 8 as well as an intercollege competition.”

Matthew also comments:

Having spent time working in other industries, I found I really enjoyed teaching as each day, week and year offers unique and interesting challenges and experiences. I enjoy teaching even more at Claremont. This is one of the most diverse schools in the country which really gives the students a unique perspective. Having students from so many backgrounds makes for a more engaging classroom experience, especially in a subject like Geography. 

Stella Bowes, Sudbury Primary School, Admissions Officer & PA to Headteacher

Ms Bowes has worked at Sudbury Primary School for 26 years and shares the following:

Sudbury Primary is like a family, and we all work together, adults and children alike, for the benefit of everyone. There is a vibrant, welcoming, inclusive environment, well-resourced classrooms, enthusiastic staff including specialist teachers, and a wide and enriched curriculum. There are so many opportunities for pupils to have their voices heard and have a say in what they would like the school to do for them.  The Headteacher is always there to listen, guide and inform - a passionate educationalist who strives to ensure the best outcomes for all. This amazing school, originally founded in the 1880s, continues to evolve to serve the local community, preparing children to meet the privileges and challenges of today’s society. I’m lucky to work with staff, governors, parents and pupils, plus the wider community every day – no two days are ever alike!

Daxa Panchal, Executive Headteacher Assistant

Daxa Panchal has worked at Claremont High School for 9 years and shares the following:

Transitioning from a career in investment banking to my present role as an Executive Assistant at Claremont represented a significant pivot in my professional journey - one that I wholeheartedly embraced. I have never looked back!

I love the sense of purpose and fulfilment that comes from being part of an educational institution dedicated making a huge difference to the children in our local community. The atmosphere of collaboration and positivity among the staff, coupled with their commitment to the wellbeing and achievements of every student, is truly uplifting. Working alongside colleagues who are nothing short of remarkable enhances this experience.

Working for a school part of a Chrysalis Multi Academy Trust also brings a multitude of advantages. The cooperation and exchange of knowledge among our schools have resulted in more efficient administration, the sharing of resources and best practices, as well as the implementation of cost-effective systems. Staff members also benefit from a wealth of opportunities, including training, development, career advancement and networking.

Jack O’Toole, Sudbury Primary School, Assistant Headteacher – Phase 1 Leader

Mr O’Toole’s role at Sudbury Primary School is to support the teachers, children, parents and wider school community within the Early Years Foundation Stage. The role is unique because the school promotes and encourages learning through play. He is very passionate about developing communication and language skills with our youngest learners through innovative and creative play.

The young people are at the forefront of everything we do, and Mr O’Toole firmly believes that the pupils are given the very best start to their school life at Sudbury. He confirms that as soon as the children arrive at school, they are welcomed into well-resourced classrooms with wonderful learning experiences, with caring teachers and supportive leaders who all work together to give the children the very best education.

Mr O’Toole commented:

I am a relatively new member of staff and am currently completing the National Professional Qualification for Senior Leadership with the aspirations to develop as a senior leader (learning lots from the very supportive Senior Leadership Team) before, later taking on more whole school projects. Thinking back to my 10-year-old self, I now know that the reason I am now a teacher is because I too want to inspire and support the next generation who may be doctors, entrepreneurs, emergency service workers, hairdressers, athletes, plumbers, engineers, footballers or even teachers. Maybe one day, I may be a Headteacher but for now, I am very happy to be here at Sudbury.  Also, we are very lucky to have a wonderful catering team at Sudbury - the lunches are delicious!